The film turns first to the history of the Phaidon Press, which was founded in 1923 by Béla Horovitz in Vienna. Horovitz and his partner Ludwig Goldscheider were interested in publishing books whose layout should visibly express an appreciation of modernity. The consistent use of simple Bauhaus fonts and graphics devoted to modern design principles was more than just a publishing ambition. It should also subvert the ideology of the Austrian corporative state. Horovitz was able to save the publishing house from national socialist persecution by selling it in 1938, effectively moving its headquarters to England, where he took exile and continued his publishing activities together with Goldscheider.
Phaidon – Publishers in Exile
Klub Zwei´s interest is not aimed primarily at the historical examination of a successful enterprise. Instead, Phaidon is an example of the loss of people and of cultural resources that cannot be replaced through "reparations"–the voids in Austria and Germany caused by National Socialism that must be made apparent. The film is also interested in the multiple-perspectives involved in historiography as demonstrated by the juxtaposition of various speakers: the daughter and granddaughter of the founder of the publishing house, the head of the Austrian Exile Library, and artists.
Klub Zwei have chosen a cinematic language that steadily fragments images, narrations, and questions and is thereby a stylistic device of disturbance. This is only logical, to make visible the ruptures in speaking about the past, as once again it becomes evident that this speaking about the "same" past takes place, at best, parallel, but can never occur together, as the history and its subjects differ too greatly.
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt
The film takes a look at the history of the Phaidon-Verlag, which was originally located in Vienna. Founded in 1923 by Béla Horovitz, Ludwig Goldschneider and Fritz Ungar, it specialized in art and art history after 1933. In 1938 the publishing house was sold pro forma to the English publisher George Allen & Unwin to save it from being “aryanized.” A short time later Horovitz emigrated to England with his family.
english print version